Fresh Pasta (with a few Italian pasta stuffings)

Fresh Pasta (with a few Italian pasta stuffings)

1 lb. 2 oz. flour
5 whole eggs

In some parts of Italy - it?s 4 whole eggs and a little water; in other parts it?s only 2 eggs and more water; still others will use only egg yolks and oil - regardless - there is nothing like a good fresh pasta.

Place flour on working surface (pastry board); make a well in the center and break eggs in center (or eggs and oil or water); using fork, beat eggs, gradually incorporating flour until it is no longer possible to use a fork (about ½ the flour will be used). Using your hands continue to work in remaining flour; knead a good 15 minutes.

The dough should be thick - not stiff; a stiff dough is difficult to roll and work with. Cover with clean lint-free cloth and keep under a weight for half an hour to allow the gluten to relax, making the dough less elastic and easier to roll.

Roll and cut as desired - fill with one of the following stuffings for fresh pasta:

Duck Stuffing

1 lb. duck breast, unskinned
1 oz. spinach, chopped
4 slices stale bread
1 cup milk
1 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 tbs. oil
2 scallions, chopped
2 oz. bone marrow
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 oz. heavy cream

Chop the duck breast into small pieces. Cook the spinach in a pot without water, over a low heat, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from pot, cool and chop very finely.
Trim crusts and dip the white of the bread in the milk, squeeze out the excess liquid and mix with the spinach.
Sauté the mushrooms, scallions and duck breast mixture for a few minutes, stirring well. Next, chop the whole very finely and add to the spinach, and bread mixture. Add bone marrow, parsley and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
This stuffing is suitable for ravioli and tortelloni. Sauces may vary from melted butter, sage and Parmigiano to a reduction of duck sauce.

Game Stuffing

1 squab or other type of game
3 tbs. oil
1 tbs. butter
2 oz. grated Parmigiano
2 eggs
5 oz. bacon, diced

Clean the squab, salt the inside and fill in with the sage, rosemary, and diced bacon.
Heat the oil and butter in a pan and sauté the squab. Finish cooking in the oven. When the squab is done, bone and skin it and put it through a food mill.
Mix together with Parmigiano, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Keep in a cool place until ready to use.
This stuffing is used for tortelli or ravioli, which should be served in capon broth or, if a sauce is desired, an herb sauce is best.

Chicken Liver Stuffing

4 oz. spinach
2 oz. butter
4 oz. chicken livers
1/2 oz. black truffles, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 egg

Wash spinach thoroughly, put it in a pot without water and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Cut chicken livers into very small pieces and sauté in 1 tbs. of butter with truffles and scallions for about a minute. After it has cooled, pass through a food mill with the spinach, and then add the egg, the rest of the butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
The stuffing is now ready, and suitable for ravioli, tortelli, and tortelloni.
The accompanying sauce can vary from butter and sage to a very light tomato sauce. Remember: the sauce must always enhance the taste of the stuffing, not overpower it.
Spinach may also be cooked in water, as long as it is well strained. This method allows greens to maintain their natural bright color. Spinach cooked without water will color the stuffing grayish-green.

Meat Stuffing

2 tbs. butter
1/4 lb. lean ground veal
1/4 lb. pork ground loin or fillet
1/4 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup red wine, strong and dry
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1/8 lb. prosciutto
1/8 lb. mortadella
2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
6 tbs. Parmigiano
1 egg

Brown the butter in a large casserole with a heavy bottom with the finely chopped fat part of prosciutto. Add the meat, let brown, and then add wine, the clove of garlic, the bay leaf, and a little salt. Cover and cook on a very low heat for about 3 hours (it should not boil). Stir occasionally while cooking. If necessary, add spoonfuls of boiling broth or water. The sauce should be quite concentrated and the meat well cooked.
Drain the mixture and grind it in a food mill along with mortadella and the lean part of prosciutto. Strain the leftover liquid and use to moisten the breadcrumbs. Without squeezing them, add to the meat mixture. Add egg, Parmigiano, a pinch of freshly ground pepper and salt according to taste and mix well (the best way is by hand). The stuffing is now ready.
The stuffing will be more flavorful and easier to handle if allowed to stand in a cool place, covered, for a few hours. This stuffing suits all fresh stuffed pasta, particularly for the small-size types. Pasta with this filling may be served in broth, with tomato or beef ragù, or with just butter and Parmigiano.

Cheese Stuffing

2/3 lb. Roman ricotta
1 pinch of nutmeg (optional)
3 eggs
3 tbs. Parmigiano

Sieve ricotta. Beat the eggs in a bowl and, while beating, mix in the ricotta, Parmigiano, nutmeg, salt and pepper. If stuffing is too soft, add some breadcrumbs. Keep the stuffing in a cool place, for a few hours.
This stuffing can be used for all types and shapes of stuffed pasta. The sauces vary according to the recipe.

Fish Stuffing

For the court bouillon:
1 cup dry white wine
1 very small onion
1 lemon
a few peppercorns
For the fish stuffing:
1 lb. spinach
1 lb. fish fillets, one type or several
1 very small onion
2 tbs. butter
1 egg

Make a court bouillon with water, white wine, thinly sliced onion, 2-3 slices of lemon, 3 peppercorns and salt. Let it cool in its broth.
Clean, wash and cook the spinach and then, after having squeezed it well, chop it finely. Mince the onion finely. Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook till brown. In the meantime, drain the fish, bone it, cut the flesh in small pieces and add to the onion. Add the spinach, mix well and cook over a very low heat for a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let cool. After it has cooled, mix in the egg and a pinch of salt and pepper to get a smooth mixture. Keep the stuffing in a cool place until, needed.
This stuffing is best for ravioli. A suitable condiment would be a very light and fluid fish sauce.

Spinach Stuffing

2 lbs. spinach or Swiss chard leaves
1/2 lb. Roman ricotta
1 1/2 oz. parsley
1 clove garlic
8 tbs. Parmigiano
1 very small onion or leek
1 egg
1/8 lb. pancetta
2 oz. butter

Wash the spinach thoroughly. Cook the spinach in a pot with very little water. When the liquid has evaporated, remove from fire and cool, then squeeze well and chop finely. Wash the parsley and mince it finely with the garlic, onion and pancetta. Lightly brown the resulting battuto in a saucepan with the butter, stirring frequently, for about 5 mins. Add the spinach, salt, mix well and let cook over a low heat for about 10 mins, stirring frequently. Let cool.
Sieve ricotta into a bowl. Add the spinach mixture together with Parmigiano, egg, a pinch of nutmeg and pepper (and some salt, if necessary). Mix well and let stand in a cool place for several hours before using.
If desired, add 2 oz. of sausage to the battuto. This stuffing is suitable for tortelli, tortelloni, and ravioloni. The best sauce is a strained tomato sauce.

Pumpkin Stuffing

3 lbs. pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
grated nutmeg
4 oz. fruit
4 oz. amaretti, crushed
5 oz. grated Parmigiano
black pepper, crushed

Bake the pumpkin at 500°F until cooked, approx. 25 mins. Remove from oven and purée, preferably by hand. Let cool, add half of the crushed amaretti, and all other ingredients, chop and mix until you achieve a smooth mixture. If necessary, pass mixture through a sieve. Place the stuffing in a cool place for 24 hours.
This stuffing is suitable for large tortelloni. The most suitable sauce is butter and Parmigiano. When serving the pasta, sprinkle the remainder of the crushed amaretti over the tortelloni just dished so that amaretti remain crunchy.
In some cases the crushed amaretti are mixed with the grated Parmigiano.